Not me, guv. And it's with some sadness that I read that my fellow blogger Devil's Kitchen has pulled the plug on his entire history of blog posts in the wake of a rather uncomfortable interview with Brillo on the Daily Politics yesterday.
I may not see eye to eye with DK on many things, or possibly anything, and I know that those who may have been on the receiving end of his emissions before might not shed too many tears about all this, but that's beside the point in this instance. I do feel sadness at the need our society has for all politicians to be squeaky-clean goody-two-shoes blandified cookie-cutter milquetoasts. Fuck that shit. So he said he hoped someone would bleed to death - so what. So Ellie Gellard, also pilloried this week in similar attacks (albeit with more of a whiff of sexism about them) said she hoped Margaret Thatcher would be killed by a skateboard - so what. (In my view, that's not going far enough. Skateboard? Fuck that. A monster truck would be better).
I do despair at the kind of sanitised politics we're creating, especially when it comes to combing through people's cobweb-covered blog posts or long-since tweeted* tweets (or even re-tweets, taking an RT as unswervingly agreeing with everything in the post you're doing it to) and digging up the most offensive things you can find. Is this what the digital age of political blogging and coverage is about, raiding people's Facebook accounts and dusty old blog posts to try and find some occasion somewhere in the past where they didn't quite agree with what they're writing now?
I'm pretty sure there are times when I've written here about hoping Richard Littlejohn would be fed feet-first into a woodchipper - and if I haven't, then I should have done, because he fucking deserves it, the despicable one-trick bigoted old cunt that he is. And yes, swear-words are used here too - sorry if that offends anyone, although I'm not sorry at all really and I think you've probably worked that out by now. And yes, I call people 'scum' (though that is more of an imperceptible nod towards the 'cyclist scum' style threads on the football forum I read more than any other) when they simply happen to work for a certain newspaper. And I'm not sorry about that either. Yes, it's deliberately provocative and a little bit childish, but do you know what? I'm not sorry about any of it.
I'm not sorry about any of it. And I'm inclined to agree with Jennie who gives a list of things about her that might cause shock or tabloid nowtrage and then says:
Now, I am absolutely certain that some of those things will cost me votes. BUT I am likewise certain that if we are ever, EVER going to change our political system we need our politicians to stop living in fear of media exposure, and to do that, we all need to be honest about stuff instead of trying to hide it. Aside from anything else, the digital age means that for people my age and younger, pretty soon there are not going to be any potential candidates without some of these things in their internet history. Does this mean that an entire generation's talents should be consigned to the dustbin? Just because they have been publicly honest about their thoughts and feelings? I don't think so.
Amen to that. The awkwardness of the Chris Mounsey interview is, I think, because of the conflict between the internet persona and the political persona, and the internal conflict too - the rush to apology rather than the steadfast defence. And we learned nothing about the party itself, which was supposedly the point of the interview in the first place. It was just three minutes of Neil telling Mounsey off for what he'd written on his blog.
It's easy to have l'esprit d'escalier with these things, but it might be worth anyone who's similarly cornered by Brillo in the future to point out that we've all published things we may have later regretted - but I don't think a blogger has ever forked out tens of thousands of pounds for telling a pack of lies about someone who had simply told the truth in a controversial murder case, as Neil's Sunday Times did about Carmen Proetta**. I'd say that was a damn sight more offensive to the victim of that smear campaign than what DK wrote on his blog. How would Brillo feel if that was brought up every time he was on telly, regardless of what he was on about? It's not as if the first question anyone ever asks Alastair Campbell is about his time writing soft porn for Forum magazine - some people are allowed to escape the mistakes of their past, but not others.
Anyway, you needn't worry; this isn't my declaration of an intention to run for Parliament or anything like that. If I should ever do such a foolhardy and borderline-sectionable thing in the future, feel free to dredge up everything on here, every tweet I've ever twet (see? it'll catch on) or re-twet, every picture on my Facebook in which I look like a bit of an arse, and everything else about me ever. Because I won't give a shit then, as I don't give a shit now. It shouldn't matter and it doesn't matter. If we want to be puritans about our elected representatives, then fine, but our political life will be all the poorer for it.
* I am rather fond of the new past participle 'twet' and may well start using that in future.
** Though they weren't as bad as Murdoch stablemates the Sun, who told even more lies about Proetta, claiming she ran an escort agency when in fact she was a director of a travel agency.
No related posts.